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When and How To Harvest Okra For its Greatest Potential

There are a lot of causes to add okra vegetation to your backyard. Okra flowers are stunning and appeal to pollinators. Whereas okra flowers are self-pollinating, the attraction of pollinators to your backyard can profit vegetation close by. The pods are a staple in southern cooking. Are you able to even name it gumbo with out the inclusion of okra pods?

They really thrive in sizzling climate, which makes them nice producers in the summertime backyard throughout hotter climates. There’s a catch, nevertheless. Since okra might be such a prolific producer, it’s vital to know when to choose okra from its stems. Ready too lengthy may end up in a troublesome and inedible pod. 

One other good thing about understanding when to reap okra is that the extra typically that you just harvest, the extra your plant will produce. Okra vegetation attain maturity inside 50-75 days after transplant. The vegetation can maintain producing pods for at the very least 10-12 weeks. It’s potential to maintain okra vegetation flowering and producing fruit lengthy into the rising season. 

For those who prune okra vegetation again after the summer time harvest slows, it will end in a second fall crop. At this level, you could possibly depart some pods to completely mature and nearly dry out on the plant for those who want to save seeds for the next 12 months. You can additionally harvest okra once more within the fall.  

Because you’ll probably have an abundance of okra, along with understanding when to choose okra, you’ll additionally must know the right way to harvest okra correctly. Choosing okra could be a ache as a consequence of their stiff hairs which were identified to trigger pores and skin irritation. Lastly, you’ll must know one of the best ways to retailer okra to maximise your harvest. Learn on as we cowl all of those subjects! 

When to Choose Okra

Close-up of a man's hand holding freshly picked okra pods against a blurred garden background. The pods are elongated, ribbed, bright green in color, covered with small thin white hairs.
Harvest okra pods when they’re 2-3 inches lengthy and vibrant in coloration.

As talked about above, okra vegetation mature in about 50-65 days. When the vegetation attain maturity, they’ll then start flowering. Okra flowers are stunning, teacup-shaped, and resemble hibiscus flowers as a result of they’re associated to hibiscus. 

Okra flowers are edible too. If you end up with extra okra than you possibly can deal with, you might need to start harvesting okra flowers earlier than they flip into pods and eat these too! 

Every flower lasts for a couple of day on the okra plant earlier than it begins to die again and switch into an okra pod. These flowers are self-pollinating, in order that they don’t require the help of pollinators to supply high quality pods, however they nonetheless appeal to all of them the identical.

This could profit close by vegetation that do want pollinators to supply. Pods will seem roughly 4-5 days after the flowers. 

As soon as the pods attain 2-3 inches lengthy and are vibrant in coloration, then it’s time to reap okra! Choosing okra pods at this younger stage will be certain that they continue to be tender. The colour can fluctuate relying on which cultivar you’ve chosen to develop. An okra plant can come in several shades of inexperienced, purple, and even crimson. 

It’s vital to reap okra pods each few days to encourage the plant to proceed to supply all through the rising season. As soon as pods develop too massive, they grow to be robust and inedible. These bigger pods might be left on the plant to dry for those who’d like to avoid wasting seeds for the next season. 

Because the summer time winds down and the harvest begins to sluggish, you possibly can prune the okra plant again to a top of between 6-12 inches. This may encourage new progress and a second fall crop.

The right way to Harvest Okra

Close-up of a man's hand cutting a ripe okra pod in the garden with a sharp knife. The plant has an upright pale green stem with fine spiny hairs, and broad lobed leaves. The pod is long, ribbed, bright green.
When harvesting okra, it’s vital to put on gloves and reduce the stem simply above the cap with a pointy knife.

On the floor, harvesting okra could seem to be a easy process, however there may be some warning available. Okra vegetation have stiff hairs often known as setulose, which may trigger pores and skin irritation. These advantageous protrusions might be discovered on pods, stems, and even okra leaves. For that reason, all the time put on gloves and lengthy sleeves or a protracted sleeved-shirt whereas harvesting okra to keep away from direct contact with the pores and skin. 

Not solely is it good to put on gloves if you’re harvesting okra, it’s additionally a good suggestion to deliver a basket with you to move your harvest so to deal with the pods as little as potential. There are spineless varieties, however even these could have some setulose progress. 

When selecting okra, make sure you make the most of a pointy knife or pruning shears to chop the stem simply above the cap in a single clean movement. This sharp knife may also assist restrict your contact with the setulose. 

The right way to Retailer Okra

Close-up of three jars of pickled okra with garlic and pepper. Banks stand on a concrete surface with rusty spots. The jars are filled with long, ribbed, pale green okra pods.
Resolve the right way to eat the okra after harvest, maintain dry within the fridge, or pickle in jars for long-term storage.

After you’re accomplished harvesting okra pods, it’s time to determine the way you’d wish to eat it. This may inform you which ones of the preservation strategies will go well with you greatest. For those who intend to eat it shortly after harvesting okra, it’s greatest to retailer it dry within the crisper drawer of your fridge. The pods will final a number of days this manner however needs to be consumed pretty shortly. 

After selecting okra, the pods are vulnerable to mould and decay, so don’t wash them till simply earlier than cooking them. Those that eat okra pods know their slimy texture. Whereas this may be off-putting to some, the pods are a key ingredient in gumbo as they act as a thickening agent. These pods can be utilized to thicken different soups and stews in the identical approach. 

Okra’s pods are sometimes left complete and eaten breaded and deep-fried. They’re additionally generally pickled to increase the shelf lifetime of a harvest even additional. Pickled okra pods make a tasty addition to a charcuterie plate! Some select to smoke the okra pods earlier than pickling to provide them one other layer of taste. 

For those who intend to retailer okra pods for the lengthy haul, take into account freezing them. Once you freeze okra, it won’t have the identical texture as soon as it thaws. Nonetheless, the pods will nonetheless have the identical thickening properties and can be utilized in soups and stews like contemporary okra pods. For the very best quality, eat okra from the freezer inside one 12 months.

Varieties of Okra

Now, we’ll cowl a few of the commonest kinds of okra you possibly can embrace in your summer time backyard. These are each spiny and spineless varieties, in addition to these tailored to completely different climates. 

Clemson Spineless Okra

Close-up of a growing Clemson Spineless Okra in a sunny garden. It is a variety that can tolerate cooler temperatures and produces semi-thornless green pods. The leaves are large, lobed, green. A large yellowish-cream funnel-shaped flower with a dark purple center and an oblong peduncle with stamens.
Clemson Spineless Okra can tolerate cooler temperatures, has inexperienced leaves, and produces semi-spineless inexperienced pods.

This okra was developed at Clemson College in 1980. Clemson spineless is an okra that may deal with cooler temperatures than others and usually produces earlier.

It does recognize sizzling climate, as all okra does as properly. Clemson okra leaves are inexperienced, and if you harvest okra from this plant, you’ll have semi-spineless inexperienced pods.

Pink Burgundy Okra

Top view, close-up of a flowering Red Burgundy Okra plant with a ripe pod in a sunny garden. Red Burgundy Okra has dark crimson stems, fruits and leaves. Its pod is also dark crimson, long, ribbed with a tapered tip. The flower is large, yellow with a dark purple center.
Pink Burgundy Okra is a extremely productive plant with deep crimson stems, fruits, and leaves.

If you wish to add a splash of coloration to your backyard, strive planting Pink Burgundy Okra seed within the floor this summer time. All components of this plant are deep crimson – stem, fruit, and leaves.

Different crimson varieties could not proceed producing by a number of seasons, however Pink Burgundy Okra may be very productive, with the flavour and slimy texture typical to okra.

Cow Horn Okra    

Close-up of a ripe Cow Horn okra pod among green lobed foliage. The pod is large, long, narrow, ribbed, pale green in color, with a twisted tip resembling a horn.
Cow Horn Okra produces distinctive curled pods with spines, requiring cautious harvesting with a pointy knife.

Perhaps you need solely essentially the most attention-grabbing vegetation in your backyard. If you wish to strive producing Cow Horn okra, you’ll have a harvest of tender pods that curl from the stem.

Cow Horn has fruit that curls and might develop as much as 14 inches lengthy. They’ve spines, so keep in mind to reap your crop with care and a pointy knife!

Emerald Heirloom Okra

Close-up of the maturing pods of Emerald Heirloom Okra among large, dark green, lobed foliage. The pods are straight, elongated, ribbed, dark green.
Emerald Heirloom Okra produces straight, ribboned pods which might be nice for cooking.

The tender pods of Emerald have been cultivated in 1950 by Campbell’s Soup Firm. Every plant grows a stem that may attain 8 ft in top, shading components of the backyard that may’t deal with the warmth.

The straight however ribboned fruit you harvest from the plant is great for cooking, as that’s what it was developed for! Seeds of this plant aren’t exhausting to seek out on-line too. 

Silver Queen Okra

Close-up of the maturing Silver Queen Okra pods against the sky in the garden. The plant has large, lobed, bright green leaves with serrated edges. The pods are long, narrow, and creamy white in color.
Silver Queen Okra has fruit that grows to a couple inches in about 80 days, making it excellent for lengthy heat seasons.

For those who’re on the hunt for seeds which you can develop within the floor by a protracted summer time season, Silver Queen is a good crop for you.

The plant’s fruit grows to a couple inches in about 80 days, excellent for lengthy heat seasons. The pods are creamy white at their tops; you possibly can freeze these simply as you could possibly different varieties. 

Go Massive Okra

Close-up of a Go Big Okra pod in a sunny garden against a blurred background. The pod is large, long, ribbed, dark green in color, slightly hairy.
Go Massive seeds produce massive okra pods which might be simply as scrumptious and appropriate for decorative or culinary use.

Let’s say you need to harvest okra inside a few months, and if you do harvest okra, you need it to be huge.

Go Massive seeds will make it easier to produce a crop of okra with as much as 7-inch lengthy pods. They’re simply as scrumptious as different okras and work each in decorative and culinary settings. 

Jing Orange Okra

Top view, close-up of a Jing Orange Okra plant in the garden. The plant has upright red stems covered with green lobed leaves with red veins. The plant produces large, long, narrow, ribbed, bright red pods.
Pink Chinese language heirloom okra seeds are simple to seek out, producing vivid crimson pods.

Whereas the seed of this plant is touted as uncommon, it’s simple to seek out! This Chinese language heirloom isn’t truly orange; as a substitute, it’s a vivid crimson pod that’s prepared in about 60 days. Once you harvest okra from certainly one of these vegetation, the pods will probably be roughly 3 to 4 inches lengthy. 

Though some crimson varieties are dwarf vegetation, this one can attain 6 ft.

Star of David Okra

Close-up of ripe pods of the Star of David Okra plant on a wooden table. The pods are plump, slightly elongated, ribbed, pale green in color.
Develop Star of David for large, fats pods which might be over an inch in diameter.

Once you harvest okra, would you like huge, fats pods? Strive Star of David! This Mediterranean plant grows purplish leaves on stems that develop 7 ft or extra. The pods are over an inch in diameter and kind inside 75 days. 

The plant is best for long-season okra gardeners; additional care needs to be taken when harvesting these. They’re additional spiny however fairly scrumptious. Seed for this plant is offered at various seed-saving distributors.    

Regularly Requested Questions

Q: How huge ought to okra get earlier than selecting?

A: Okra pods needs to be picked once they attain between 2-3 inches lengthy.

Q: What to do with okra after selecting?

A: Okra pods might be eaten contemporary, pickled, or frozen for future use. After harvesting okra pods, they don’t final very lengthy within the fridge. It’s greatest to eat the pods shortly after selecting or in any other case protect them. 

Q: What coloration ought to okra be when picked?

A: That each one is dependent upon the variability! Some okra cultivars are inexperienced when mature, some pods are purple, and a few are even crimson. 

Q: How have you learnt if okra is simply too huge?

A: When okra pods develop too huge, they’ll grow to be robust with a woody texture. 

Q: What does ripe okra appear to be?

A: Ripe okra pods are about 2-3 inches lengthy and will probably be vibrant in coloration. The colour will rely on which selection you might be rising. Okra pods usually attain maturity about 5 days after the flowers bloom. 

Q: Do you freeze contemporary okra?

A: Okra pods deal with freezing exceptionally properly. Particularly for those who’re going to make use of pods later in a stew or gumbo, pods might be frozen complete or chopped into rounds. 

Q: What number of occasions can okra be harvested?

A: Pods kind shortly throughout peak season and might be harvested each 2-3 days. 

Q: Do you wash okra after selecting?

A: Storing moist okra pods leaves them prone to mould and decay. For that reason, solely wash every okra pod proper earlier than you’re going to eat it. In any other case, your okra pod harvest needs to be saved dry. 



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